For those of you who have been following the recount saga in Wisconsin, here is a bit of news, and a reflection on that.
So, the news from a couple of days ago (I’m just catching up) is that the process of re-counting is complete, but the resolution of that close election may not be. The re-counting did not change which candidate is leading, and apparently expanded the margin slightly.
Trailing candidate Joanne Kloppenburg explains her motivation for the recount in a newspaper letter to the editor, building on the old but true assertion that, “One may be entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”
We steer clear of political food fights, and I have no opinion on her motivation. But we are all about transparency and transparency should not have any political agenda attached.
To that end, what Kloppenburg does point about some of the irregularities, problems, and issues with the re-counting process (which are not the same as the problems with the original count), including lack of physical security on ballots, and uncertainty as to whether the re-counted ballots were the same ballots as the originally counted ones — are reasonable questions about transparency. More importantly, Kloppenburg offers some reflections about the re-count that are important and correctly apolitical:
When races are this close, there is a significant public interest established both by statute and by common sense in determining that votes were counted and counted accurately.
This election was close, and there were many who have expressed doubts about whether it was clean. The right to vote is fundamental. It is a right that courageous people fight and die for every day. In America, that right carries with it a promise: that elections are fair and open, that election results are untainted by deceit or fraud, and that the electoral process provides every eligible voter with an equal opportunity to privately and independently cast a ballot.
In order to make that promise real, there are appropriate and established steps that help make sure the outcome of elections, when in doubt, can withstand scrutiny. That, no more and no less, is exactly why this recount is so important.
That is, in fact, a fine description of the purpose of a recount.
It’s unfortunate that in this particular case, the re-count process seems to have a similar or greater level of problems that cast doubt on the result. We can only hope that the full scope of the process, warts and all, becomes transparent to the public.
For me, I find that regardless of candidate or political preferences, there is a point couched in the last two sentences excerpted from her letter that matters most:
…there are appropriate and established steps that help make sure the outcome of elections, when in doubt, can withstand scrutiny
Transparency in process. There should be nothing political about that.